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Journalists to go on hunger strike in protest of attack on fellow journalists

  • Published at 10:36 pm August 28th, 2018
Doctors and nurses are seen treating injured Associated Press photojournalist AM Ahad at Labaid Hospital's emergency room in Dhaka after he was attacked allegedly by ruling party cadres on Sunday; August 5, 2018 <b>Mehedi Hasan/Dhaka Tribune</b>
Doctors and nurses are seen treating injured Associated Press photojournalist AM Ahad at Labaid Hospital's emergency room in Dhaka after he was attacked allegedly by ruling party cadres on Sunday; August 5, 2018 Mehedi Hasan/Dhaka Tribune

They also threatened to go for tougher protests to press home their four-point demand

Journalists have announced their intention to go on a token hunger strike on September 5 demanding justice for the attacks carried on several of their colleagues during the road safety movement.

Under the banner of different platforms, they also threatened to go for tougher protests to press home their four-point demand, which includes immediate arrest of the attackers.

The announcement came in a rally held in front of the National Press Club on Tuesday. Leaders of Bangladesh Federal Union of Journalists (BFUJ), Dhaka Union of Journalists (DUJ) and Dhaka Reporters’ Unity (DRU) addressed the rally before marching towards the Home Ministry, to submit a memorandum for immediate implementation of their demands.

Their other demands were- completion of the trial in the case of murdered journalist couple Sagar and Runi, completion of countrywide trials of pending journalist murder cases, and an end to torture and harassment of journalists by the police.

Sohel Haider Chowdhury, general secretary of DUJ, said: "We are set for the emblematic hunger strike, since we are yet to observe any visible progress in arresting the culprits. If the situation demands it, we will engage in even tougher programs until the attackers are arrested."

DRU General Secretary Syed Shukur Ali Shuvo echoed similar sentiments, saying that they, too, would be partaking in similar activities. 

However, the journalists were unable to get in touch with the home minister and the home secretary while submitting the memorandum, as both of them are currently abroad.

The journalists had previously planned to surround the home ministry as their repeated calls for immediate action from concerned authorities had gone unheeded. However, they eventually left after staying there for a while.

They had also planned to stage a sit-in demonstration at the same venue on August 16, which was canceled following the death of Daily Samakal Editor Golam Sarwar on August 13, and because of the National Mourning Day on August 15. 

Since the attack on media personnel during the student movement for road safety, journalists have been alleging that the law enforcers kept showing reluctance in identifying the attackers, even though countless photos and videos of the attacks were published in a number of media outlets. 

On Monday, Dhaka Metropolitan Police (DMP) Additional Commissioner Abdul Baten said they were working to identify the attackers, and the press will be duly updated of all developments, if any. 

Claiming to have made "significant progress" in identifying the offenders, he said: "After identification, we will take action against the attackers."

However, he did not provide a clear reply when asked whether any case has been filed by any of the journalists who were attacked. 

On August 13, eight days after at least 23 media employees were assaulted, and their equipment vandalized, by unidentified attackers while covering student protests in the Dhanmondi area of Dhaka, the inspector general of police (IGP) said detectives had started working on the matter. 

On Saturday, Dhaka Metropolitan Police (DMP) Commissioner Asaduzzaman Mia said they were waiting for journalists to file cases over the attack-- a call that was vigorously condemned by many journalists. 

On August 7, journalists declared a 72-hour ultimatum to identify the attackers. The same day, Information Minister Hasanul Haq Inu urged the home minister to identify and take action against the attackers. 

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